Only by lifting sanctions can the EU work effectively with Russia in Syria and Iraq. That's why France must be first to take responsibility and put an end to the anti-Russian sanctions, and then urge other EU members to do the same, d'Auzon said.
"Can we fight side-by-side with the Russians and keep EU sanctions imposed at the same time? The answer is no!" — said d'Auzon, who is also an expert in Russian politics and the author of a book about Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The World Bank consultant also pointed out that the sanctions are hurting the EU economy. Europe lost almost 20 percent of its trade volume due the sanctions, meanwhile the United States, which pressured the EU to join the anti-Russian economic measures, actually increased its trade with Russia by 7 percent despite sanctions.
"We [Europeans] are applying sanctions and we're suffering because of them. The Americans, on the other hand, are making money off the sanctions," d'Auzon wrote, citing renowned French journalist Pierre Lorrain.
France, for example, exported agricultural products to Russia worth €750 ($825) million in 2013. But with the start of sanctions, French farmers have had a tough time as they are unable to sell their products to the huge Russian market, which in turn led to low food prices and less money for French food growers, the economic expert explained.
The European Union and its allies have introduced several rounds of sanctions since 2014, accusing Moscow of meddling in the Ukrainian conflict. The claims have been repeatedly denied by the Kremlin.
In response, Moscow has imposed an embargo on food imports from the countries that sanctioned it in retaliation.